Matthew 11: 28-29—Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
I don’t have a practice of choosing a verse or word for a particular year. I’m giving it a shot for 2020. My key word is, “rest.”
No sooner had the New Year 2020 started reality reminded me the world acts as it is accustomed. You and I are bombarded by all sorts of in your face disruption and mankind’s cruelty to each other. Tragedies like the Jan. 8 plane crash woke me up to the fact of great sadness all over the world.
I’m tired of it all. What is the answer to all this weariness, this reality of being “heavy laden?” Is there an answer? As a storyteller who is a Christian I know there is. There is only one answer and no other. The words of Christ noted at the beginning of this post offer the answer. To those who come to Him, He offers rest.
I admit the yoke of the world, its ways of life, can weigh me down. This yoke is too much and difficult to bear. These days with so much sin, confusion and disorder being tolerated, I want to fade away. My thoughts taunt me by saying I don’t feel safe and I don’t fit in. The temptation to find a place to run away can be inviting.
Matthew 11:28-29 speaks to me. The words call me back and remind me of my deep need. There is a place of safety, of rest, from the storms of life and calamities of our world. I need to remind myself of this gentle rest. I need rest found only in God. This rest is not found in the world. Coming to God is the only way. I know this is basic to our lives if we are Christians.
Years ago my family doctor suggested I relax more. I can’t say I listened and in 1997 I began two years of burnout and depression. This dark time caused me to reflect on what I did to myself to come to this time of burnout. I took on too much to please other people. I know I have considered this time in my life in another InScribe post or two. The thing is as I reflect on this even today I am still learning from it.
Years have gone by since my burnout and depression but I still need rest. This rest allows me to be calm and patient even in the midst of the agonies of the world and those I love. I’m not always successful in this. This takes self-discipline for me, as I’m prone to worry about my family and others. When my wife had cancer surgery two years ago I must say it robbed me of rest. She reminded me of her attitude rest is possible even in such circumstance.
From a personal perspective, I rest and lay aside from performing for people, in doing things I think will stand me in good stead with others. I try to be at peace with the people in my world who don’t always understand me. I try to be at peace with decisions I make regarding relationships with others, including family, friends, and strangers.
I have “come” to God through Jesus and I realize I am in the world but not of it. To embrace, and never let go of Christ’s yoke is rest. Like all Christians, I too am to be Christ-like. I am to show what “rest” looks like to the world. I can walk with Him in peace and rest.
Oh, God, help me show your rest to all I meet.